Around 4am on Saturday, June 21st, 19 year old Erick Lopez allegedly crashed into a construction site while driving under the influence. This crash was fatal, killing an innocent bystander (who was working construction), as well as injuring himself and two passengers that he (Lopez) was driving. The accident took place at the 4900 block of South Western Avenue.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Lopez had a blood content of .195 at the time of the accident – more than twice the legal limit of .08. The construction working who was killed as a result of the accident was 58 year old Jose Tafoya, who leaves behind four children, and two young grandchildren. Tafoya, a man from Merrillville, Indiana, was described as a “hard working and responsible man,” by his nephew Luis Paz, who went on to state that his uncle was a family man who, “…had a lot of dreams.” Lopez wove in and out of construction site barriers that were placed for safety before hitting Tofoya, sending him several feet.

Lopez remains hospitalized for his injuries, and was unable to appear in court. Lopez was charged with reckless homicide in a construction zone, aggravated DUI resulting in an accidental death, misdemeanor for having no car insurance, as well as failure to carry/display a valid driver’s license, improper lane usage, and failure to reduce speed. Mr. Lopez was ordered to be held without bail.

Prior to the accident, Lopez and the injured passengers were at a party where Lopez had been in a fight. Lopez was seen driving at a high rate of speed (according to a witness), swerving in and out of construction barriers before ultimately hitting Tafoya. According to court records, several other construction workers were injured. One of the passengers suffers from head and spinal injuries, and the other passenger facial injuries. The woman passenger and Lopez were taken to the Mount Sinai Hospital, and the other passenger was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, according to the police.

Practicing safe driving is imperative, no matter if driving on a long country road or through a construction site. If you find yourself facing DUI allegations, it’s important for you to get the help you need. While a crash may only take a minute, the repercussions could last a lifetime. The Law Offices of J. Samuel Worley offer free consultation to those in need.

Do not hesitate to call: 312-953-LAW1    

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